Minnesota travels to Mankato this weekend

It’s the first on three straight road series.

by Samuel Gordon

No. 2 Minnesota is in the home stretch of the regular season and this weekend travels to Minnesota State, where it will play the Mavericks in the first of three straight road series.

Last week was an emotional one for the Gophers. Just a couple days prior to a weekend series with Bemidji State, freshman Stephanie AndersonâÄôs sister passed away unexpectedly at the age of 24.

Minnesota (20-4-2, 14-4-2 WCHA) regrouped and beat the Beavers 3-2 Friday before tying at 3-3 on Saturday. The team attended the funeral for AndersonâÄôs sister on Tuesday.

âÄúThis week was tough. ThereâÄôs no question what weâÄôve been going through,âÄù assistant coach Nadine Muzerall said. âÄúWords donâÄôt describe it. All we can do is just support and build around each other.âÄù

Muzerall said the teamâÄôs unity was highlighted in wake of the tragedy, and it will continue getting ready for the Mavericks.

The Gophers not only swept but destroyed MSU earlier in the season, outscoring the Mavericks 10-0 in two games.

Senior Sarah Erickson said she expects MSU (7-19-0, 3-17-0 WCHA) to be better this time around.

âÄúYouâÄôre going to find yourself playing teams and having them be harder in the second half [of the season],âÄù she said.

âÄúThey play harder in their own rink âĦ I think weâÄôre just going to have to be disciplined in our systems and shoot the puck a lot.âÄù

With postseason play on the horizon, Muzerall said these games are critical in preparation for the playoffs.

âÄúThis whole season is just coming to an end very quickly. I think we have to build off each other and just keep trucking through,âÄù she said.

âÄúBeing one of the best teams in the country, everybody that we play against will play their absolute best against us. And thatâÄôs something you canâÄôt take lightly.âÄù